Birds of Prey - loose block status

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Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by squamish climber » Mon May 30, 2011 11:03 am

On another thread Jeremy Blumel noted there was a big loose flake at the belay at the base of Birds of Prey crux corner pitch.
I've heard, as of last fall, that it had slid and was teetering against some tree roots. If so it's a threatening granite surfboard waiting to cleave parties off the route climbing the first two 5.8 pitches. Think of the scene from Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark, remember the giant rolling stone ball?
So I was wondering if this surfboard flake is still there and loose.
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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by PJH » Tue May 31, 2011 1:28 pm

I climbed the route 2 weeks ago, but didn't notice any loose blocks. Maybe it was there, but if it was it wasn't too obvious.

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by BK » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:09 am

I had the pleasure of confronting this particular flake just yesterday and would like to confirm that it is a serious nightmare just waiting for the right trigger. It consists of a 12' by 5' guilotine that must weigh about 1.5 tons. It is held up by (get this) a yellow cedar snag that is straining under the load.

It is located right beside the belay for the crux corner, half way up.

I seriously think this thing needs to get the boot ASAP. Maybe the SAC rebolting contractors still have some money in the kitty and would like to spice up thier job a bit. Take a bottle jack and a few wedge blocks, but it wouldn't surprise me if you could peel it off by hand.

The way it is now, its a bit like climbing under a serac.... maybe it'll stay, maybe it won't. either way someday soon its coming down. I'm not interested in climbing there until its gone

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by BlahMatt » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:06 am

Saw the flake the weekend before last being held up by the tree. Doesn't seem to shift from gentle presses (didn't want to do more than that). I'll second that it's only a matter of time before the tree gives and it comes down and it's a huge danger to people on the first 2 pitches or at the base.

Anyone feel like heading up there with a crowbar and some caution tape?

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by BK » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:27 am

who ever goes up to do the job, I would like to suggest going over equipped. The last thing you want to risk doing is making it worse. Also, make sure the landing is secured as it could go for a ways into the forest.

one things for sure, the bolted slab route below is history

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by Brendan » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:53 pm

And bring a camera - I HAVE to see this!! I’ve been wanting to kick that thing loose for years now...

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by gnarnaphobe » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:54 am

BK wrote:I had the pleasure of confronting this particular flake just yesterday and would like to confirm that it is a serious nightmare just waiting for the right trigger. It consists of a 12' by 5' guilotine that must weigh about 1.5 tons. It is held up by (get this) a yellow cedar snag that is straining under the load.
1.5 tons? is that accurate? do you think with some alpine style rescue techniques and some pulleys for mechanical advantage we could lower it out of there? just a thought.

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by Optimally-Primed » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:53 am

BlahMatt and others,
I agree that this flake needs to go as soon and safely as possible. Summer is coming... climbers will be up there in numbers regardless of whether it's gone and safe or still there and deadly. I am happy to help out with the project. I think that at least 3 ground personnel (with cell phones) are needed to block off all three trails accessing the base. And probably two people are needed on the flake itself. The look-out work is easy, perhaps even boring (bring a book); the on-the-wall work is not. Who else would like to help out?
OP

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by BlahMatt » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:18 am

Happy to help out either on the ropes or on the ground, as long as I can get up to Squamish from Van that day.

Can also supply a retired rope to help move the beast, if required.

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by BK » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:56 pm

lowering the thing is not going to happen and where's the fun in that anyway. I'm pretty sure one guy will be able to peel the thing off by hand but I could be wrong about that and as i said before, don't make it worse. A bottle jack and a small selection of wood block wedges ought to be the safest and most controllable method. Take lots of pictures!

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by scrubber » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:10 pm

I could go up for an early Sunday morning scaling operation. I have one available helper already. If anyone else wants to help, (Jer, Matt, BK) contact me.

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by Optimally-Primed » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:31 pm

I'm in for Sunday morning.

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by Brendan » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:27 pm

I’ll film :D

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by BK » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:58 am

sounds like too many chefs in the kitchen to me but i'll stand guard with a six pack at the trail head if you like

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Re: Birds of Prey - loose block status

Post by Optimally-Primed » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:37 am

Agreed Bruce. Two people up there, several people on the ground blocking the trails

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